Robert Doran: Sculpture and Paintings on Paper

June 18 - July 23, 2011, West Room

Robert Doran


Western Project is proud to present the first solo exhibition by Robert Doran in Los Angeles. Relocating from Chicago, the artist recently moved and set up his current studio in Southern California. Doran’s sculptural objects and paintings are personal and idiosyncratic works which echo historic precedents such as Ken Price, Karl Wirsum and Robert Gober. His interest in Shaker ideas of utopian living and the architecture of communitarianism clearly add to his use of everyday materials: clay, cement, paint and ink; seemingly a kind of neo folk art steeped in story telling, memory and meditative communication. Doran writes:


“I am interested in the power of objects. The ghosts that haunt the vessel, the architecture, the photograph, give me life. I see the it in things. It can be found in the form or fetish. It is carved or written. It is striking or ugly. But it is always there, in some way or another. The personal pronoun in art…..some of it portrays a character, a setting, or prop, while some of it supplies a form for contemplation… communicate universal histories, the impossibility of death, an ancestral purpose, and cross‐reference the metaphors of immediacy.”


His is a language of reductive forms, patterns or text, in combinations often resembling equations; a cross pollination of cultural imagery and icons. His paintings recall 1970’s graphic design and HC Westermann’s illustrative drawings. Doran’s sculptural objects of cast tree limbs, pumpkins and cowboy hats have a distinctly ‘western’ appearance yet reference objects such as Hindu lingams, pre historic cave inscriptions, or mythological figures. He is interested in creating new myths from a cosmology of influences; similar to the legend of Orpheus charming the world with his music, Doran looks to unlock the ethers and reveal narratives which surround us all.


Doran graduated from Columbia College in Chicago in 2000, has shown at Bucketrider Gallery and Roots and Culture in Chicago, The Baltimore Art Center in Baltimore, Maryland, galleries across the US including San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Portland, and Copenhagen, Denmark and Tokyo, Japan. He has been an artist in residence at Ox-Bow School of the Arts in Saugatuck, Michigan, Bethanien Kunstlerhaus, Berlin, Germany and Columbia College in Chicago.